A well-timed and well-placed shot from a freshman was what kept the Baldwinsville girls soccer team from a chance at its first-ever state Class AA championship.
Taylor Kugler's goal with 2:14 left in regulation made the difference as the Bees lost, 2-1, to Massapequa, of Long Island, in Friday afternoon's state AA semifinal at SUNY-Cortland.
B'ville was determined to make it past the semifinal round - something it didn't quite pull off in 2008, when it lost to John Jay-East Fishkill, who won each of the last two state titles. Massapequa, a three-time state champion (its last one came in 2005), was just as determined to stop them.
Forced into a defensive mode in the early going, the Bees quickly fell behind as, just 5:30 into the game, the Chiefs' Brooke Palmer took a pass from Taylor Elliot and, with Maggie Monnat forced out of the net by Elliot's charge, Palmer put it into the unoccupied net.
B'ville, awakened by that goal, started to make its own series of runs and relieved some pressure on its back line as the half wore on. Every time the Bees did push, though, Massapequa's four-plauer back line of Tori Lander, Jamie Strumwasser, Stephanie Nelle and Tara Brady broke it up, not giving the likes of Jackie and Emma Firenze too many close looks.
In the 20th minute, Monnat rushed out and prevented Kugler from a point-blank look at the net, and she made another good stop in the 37th minute. Emma Firenze did get a look just before halftime, but her shot went straight to Warrior goalie Emmalee Meyer, and it was 1-0 at the break.
Needing a turnaround, the Bees got fired up when, less than a minute into the second half, Steph Lynch, taking her turn in the net, stopped Victoria Maley on a close-up attempt similar to Kugler's. Less than three minutes later, off a free kick Sullivan had a wide-open look - but Meyer made her best stop of the afternoon, deflecting the shot over the net with her hands.